When is an academic not an academic?

Historians in the News

With the steady growth of self-publishing, do we need to redefine what scholarship is? This week on the Higher Education Network Wanda Wyporska explains why she is a 'secret academic'.

"Academics no longer have to be in an ivory tower lecturing, writing peer-reviewed articles, or even be attached to a university. There are historians who have abandoned PhDs but written books, enthusiastic amateur historians whose knowledge of their field would put dons to shame, and journalists who present TV series on history although they don't actually have a degree.

"The other day I heard someone describe himself as a professional historian though he only had a BA in history. I found myself feeling rather huffy. Surely one needs at least a PhD to use that label? Can I still call myself a historian, given my day job outside university and the fact I haven't been to a conference on my subject for more than a decade?

"My desire to pursue a PhD in history came out of my sheer lust for books. My fantasy of a professorial room came from the realisation that I needed a job to accommodate my expanding library. Doing a doctorate was a way of fulfilling my twin ambitions: to have lots of books and to write a book....

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